Balloon Demonstrator Imaging Fourier Transform Spectrometer for the Measurement of Methane and Carbon Dioxide over the Arctic

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Charles T McElroy1, Kaley A Walker2, Zahra Vaziri1, Omid Moeini1 and Randall Martin3, (1)York University, Toronto, ON, Canada, (2)University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada, (3)Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada
The Arctic multi-year ice cover is disappearing more rapidly than climate models estimate and the Arctic climate is also changing. With declining ice cover, the Arctic Ocean will likely be subject to increased shipping traffic in addition to exploration activity for natural resources with a concomitant increase in air pollution. Thus, there is a multifaceted need to monitor the polar region. A number of Canadian government departments, led by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), are proposing the Polar Communications and Weather (PCW) mission to provide improved communications and critically important meteorological and air quality information for the Arctic using an operational meteorological imager. Two satellites in highly eccentric orbits with apogees at ~ 40,000 km over the Arctic would provide quasi-geostationary viewing over the Arctic with 24-7 coverage in the IR and measurements using solar reflected light in the summertime. The planned operational meteorological instrument is a 21-channel spectral imager with UV, visible, NIR and MIR channels similar to MODIS and ABI. This presentation will focus on the development of an Imaging Fourier Transform Spectrometer (IFTS) to be flown on a high-altitude balloon to demonstrate the capacity to monitor methane and carbon dioxide in the Arctic as part of the PHEOS-WCA (Weather, Climate and Air quality) mission, which is an atmospheric science complement to the operational PCW mission.
Funding is now in place to develop the demonstrator IFTS to show that images of methane and carbon dioxide can be collected from space. The characteristics of the instrument and plans for the balloon flight will be discussed and details of the full PCW mission and PHEOS-WCA component will be presented. The author wishes to acknowledge the support of the PHEOS-WCA science team.